It’s been a couple of days now since the full trailer for Halloween Kills exploded out of the figurative cupboard and pinned us to the wall with a butcher’s knife the size of a two by four. If we gleaned nothing else from this impressively violent showcase it’s that Michael Myers hasn’t exactly grown lethargic in his old age as he seems set to rack up a brutally vicious bodycount by the time October rolls around.
But what previous kills from Michael’s forty year plus spree stand out? Join me now as we stick on John Carpenter’s iconic theme and pick through the franchise’s numerous timelines (No Halloween III by default… sorry) to select the series most heinous homicides.
Some quick rules: as Mikey is a more cerebral hunter than Jason or Leatherface, sheer brutality alone isn’t gonna cut the mustard (if it did, the list would just contain moments from the Rob Zombie movies) so some guile, subtlety and out and ballsyness are required to make the list.
So here’s my take on Mikey’s kill list, one that – if Halloween Kills’ trailer is any indication – could significantly change once the film drops like a slaughtered fireman – or five.
5) Forked In The Head (Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers – 1989)
While hardly a high point of Michael’s career, the rather muddled Halloween 5 nevertheless features a classic example of the old Myers bait and switch. Targeting the immensely douchey Mikey (think an emotionally abusive The Fonz) in order to swipe the admittedly rad ride he’s insanely protective of, The Shape draws him into the kill zone by putting an excruciating scratch in the teen’s beloved car and then easily overpowers him when he tries to start some shit. Drawing out the punchline, Michael shows his victim the weird gardening fork thing he’s going to kill him with before ramming it square into the bastard’s forehead. Quicker than getting a car from Craigslist I suppose…
4) Stun Of A Gun (Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers – 1988)
Picked for it’s genius levels of absurdity, we join Michael as fear of his return has driven everyone indoors except for roving gangs of drunken mobs looking for some old fashioned shotgun justice. As Michael’s primary target, his niece Jaime, takes shelter with a few others in the house of the town Sheriff, all within are blissfully unaware that Myers has already gained entry to the supposedly impenetrable abode and is hiding in plain sight while chilling out on a rocking chair. However, the second sheriff’s daughter Kelly discovers the previous inhabitant of that chair in pieces, Michael springs into action, levels the shotgun he’s been cradling…. and stabs her through the fucking sternum with it? However, what may initially be an utterly illogical kill actually turns out to be pretty shrewd the impaling somehow proves to be virtually silent and therefore doesn’t alert anyone in the house while sort of disproving the old adage “guns for show, knives for a pro”.
3) Bathroom Break (Halloween – 2018)
One of the many things David Gordon Green’s clean take at an original sequel got right is that Michael’s not adversa to having a little fun with his victims before he sends them to have some afternoon tea with the reaper and this is shown to gruesome effect with the death of British True-Crime Podcasters Dana Hayes and Aaron Korey. Simultaneously satisfying – it’s their fault Michael’s fired up in the first place after waving his mask at him during a prison visit – and genuinely disturbing; the rather basic kills themselves aren’t what sell the scene but instead it’s the almost playful nature of Myers’ assault that stands out. As Aaron slowly catches on that the owners of the garage they’re at are taking a permanent break (minus their fucking jaw) Michael announces his arrival to a toilet bound Dana by casually tossing some ripped out teeth under her cubicle door like he’s rolling the bones at a Vegas casino. From then on he he gets to work smashing wannabe hero Aaron’s brains out and choking the life out his partner with his bare hands.
2) Bob And Cleave (Halloween – 1978)
Possibly the template for virtually 89% of every slasher death ever filmed, the murder of the hapless Bob is textbook cinematic murder. Still in the afterglow of sex with his girlfriend, Bob shuffles downstairs to bring his fair lady a beer while not bothering to flick on a single light despite the fact he’s in a stranger’s home. However, one-upping him when it comes to being a poor house guest, Michael leaps out of a cupboard, lifts his victim into the air with his vastly superior core strength and pins him to the wall with a sizable knife. The shot of Michael tilting his head in admiration of his work has become something of a trademark for the character and with that one subtle move it marks “The Shape” out as being far more elegant about his kills than his peers.
1) Sister Hacked (Halloween – 1978)
Arguably not just the most iconic kill in the Halloween franchise, but the greatest kill in slasher movie history period, the opening moments of John Carpenter’s classic are nothing less then pure fucking art.
An extended POV shot has us stalking through a house on Halloween night, plucking a knife from a kitchen drawer and donning a clown’s mask as the intruder climbs the stairs to intercept a young, topless woman brushing her hair. Yelling the assailant name out in shock, we realise that she knows this intruder, even masked, but that doesn’t stop her falling beneath multiple thrusts of the knife a we get a first hand experience of the grisly slaying. However, as the killer brazenly flees through the front door, two adults stand bar the killer’s path and remove his mask – to reveal a blank featured little boy who has just stabbed his sister to death.
Innovative, chilling and stylistically perfect, the slasher film has rarely been as flawless as this.